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Falcons 2015 NFL Mock Draft Monitor 1.0

Now that the Falcons have the new coaching staff in place, it's time to kick off the 2015 NFL Draft season with the first installment of our Mock Monitor.

Here's the first look at who the media experts have the Falcons selecting with the No. 8 overall selection:

Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

"A known commodity since he arrived on campus, Fowler actually frustrated me some coming into the year because the talent looked better than the production. But he really put it together this season and made more plays, finishing with 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He offers the strength to set the edge as a 4-3 defensive end and becomes quick for the position in that role. While he lacks what I consider elite explosiveness, he has great strength and can both set the edge and occasionally drive a blocker backward. The Falcons need this kind of a player, as the pass rush was a weakness all year."

Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

"The Falcons need to improve on defense, especially with their pass rush. D-linemen Kroy Biermann and Osi Umenyiora are both free agents. Armstead was a 5-technique defensive end at Oregon and could play a similar role in the NFL, but he's also explosive enough to be a great fit as a left defensive end in new Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn's scheme — similar to the role that Michael Bennett played for Quinn with the Seahawks. I've really liked what I've seen from Armstead's tape; he's an excellent run defender who has a lot of upside as a pass-rusher because of his violent hands and ability to convert speed to power."

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

"Roddy White isn't getting any younger, and Cooper would be a perfect complement to Julio Jones. Roll Tide!"

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"Beasley would give the Falcons an explosive rusher to upgrade their sagging defense."

Bud Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky

"Back in October, I tweeted that Dupree was going in the top 10. That could, of course, change between now and the draft, but the local boy from Irwinton, Ga., is a 6-4, 270-pounder who has put on 15 pounds over the last few years and is ready for the next level. Teams don't take a pass rusher in the top 10 unless he's an awfully special talent. I believe Dupree is just that."

Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida "Did you see Fowler play in the Birmingham Bowl? He looked fantastic for the Florida defense. This is an athletic defensive end that has shown great versatility. I once saw him in a high school game play quarterback, running back, full back, tight end, wide receiver and all over the defensive front. Yeah, he's pretty darn athletic and I think Atlanta would love him here."

Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

"The Falcons have the firepower on offense to compete, but lack difference-makers on the defensive front. New head coach Dan Quinn recruited and coached Fowler while serving as Florida's defensive coordinator before taking over the same duties for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. Fowler's versatility is his calling card. The 6-3, 260-pounder's unique combination of power, agility and tenacity earns him time at defensive end, linebacker and defensive tackle for the Gators."

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"With Dan Quinn trading his defensive coordinator role in Seattle for the head job with the Falcons, look for Atlanta to overhaul the defensive personnel this offseason to fit his scheme. Beasley would give the Falcons a hybrid pass rusher that fits what Quinn wants to do in the front seven."

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"The Falcons should draft defense and more defense. They could look at Shane Ray or Dante Fowler if they are still available, but Beasley seems to fit the new scheme."

Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

"Dante Fowler is a legitimate top-10 pick, and his combination of athleticism and production makes him a worthy selection at No. 8 overall. He's the type of explosive athlete who can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up in a pass-rushing role. Quinn could see a lot of Cliff Avril in the former Florida Gator."

Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

"By drafting Fowler, the Falcons would have a versatile, movable player up front on defense who gives great effort and will get into the backfield. Under Dan Quinn, the Falcons will need to figure out how to get pressure from the front four. They can do that with Fowler, a player who can work inside and outside, and even move to linebacker. If Fowler is gone, there are players who could slot in as traditional pass rushers."

Leading Vote-Getters
1. Dante Fowler Jr. - 5
2. Vic Beasley - 3
Three others with one vote each

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